Evolution of a Revolution: Visualizing Millions of Iran Tweets

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Algorithms and Social ChangeWill future Presidents express strategic goals in terms of Twitter graph theory? That is almost a certainty.The purpose of these computations is two-fold: first, to contextualize information from across time and space in terms that are accessible to humans; and secondly, to distill abstract ideas into actionable form.Twitter is a platform for achieving both of these purposes in human affairs: detecting networks of information propagation and erecting new networks to reshape emerging social computations. This is the core of Twitter’s social and business value. If we were to play that age-old game of “Guess the business model,” we’d look here first.How to algorithmically discover and deploy novel social structures is perhaps the billion, or trillion, dollar question. With Twitter, the data and API are in place. And if the history of computation is any guide, once programming a system becomes possible, progressing from a hack to an application to a platform is only a matter of time.Guest author: Kovas Boguta is a co-founder of Infoharmoni, a stealth startup building computable knowledge interfaces for real-time data sets. He just returned from last week’s Personal Democracy Forum, where discussion about the Iranian uprising took center-stage. A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Remember this as you look at the next plot below. Here, we see the re-tweet network that formed around the top five Iranian tweets. Its structure shows a very different phenomenon, capturing the emergence not of a community but of an elite. Despite massive interest, or perhaps because of it, most people did not discover more than one of the top Iranians. The network simply grew faster than the information could naturally propagate. But a small inner circle did succeed in identifying core sources of information. The first pair of terms compares the bandwidth of “Ahmadinejad” and “Khamenei” mentions, respectively. The evolution of the uprising at the very highest level of social abstraction is shown with remarkable clarity: moving from a dispute over the election process involving Ahmadinejad (shown in pink) to a dispute over authority involving the supreme leader Khamenei (shown in red).Not only do we get the gist of the evolution, we also see its details and relationships to other social sub-structures. For example, looking at the second plot, we see a co-relation between mentions of the Basij militia and the reports of deaths; and that initial uptick in Khamenei mentions corresponds to the uptick in Basij mentions, foreshadowing the later crackdown.This idea of computational history applies to events that Twitter not only reported but shaped and hosted as well. A plot further down below compares the Twitter-centric discussion of #cnnfail to the distribution of Twitter proxy IPs that allowed information to continue to flow out of Iran. Is it a coincidence that these two terms merge smoothly together? And what about the big spike in mentions of proxy distribution coinciding with the first reports of violence?Computing with Social StructuresSimply tracking the volume of various phrases gives us a sense of what is happening on the street, literally and figuratively. But that signal is but a shadow of a far more complex and intricate reality, an interwoven web of individuals and actions.Twitter allows these social structures to become data structures by means of the “RT” convention. And this in turn allows us to perform extremely powerful computations on the social structures that underlie the flow of information.Network layout algorithms are a familiar, powerful, and fascinating example. They self-organize in your computer to reveal self-organization in the real world. And that is exactly the kind of tool we need to test our hypothesis about #cnnfail.The plot below shows the network of people who re-tweeted mentions of IP proxies, with those who had tweeted earlier about #cnnfail highlighted. We see not only significant overlap among the people involved but also a considerable structure in the relationships between them. We have captured a real community at the moment of its birth. At its peak, a search for “Iran” on Twitter generated over 100,000 tweets per day and over 8,000 tweets per hour. The plot just below shows the growth in volume of information in the number of tweets per hour.How does an Internet junkie, news organization, or political operative monitor rapidly evolving real-time events, from the crucial details to the bigger picture? More importantly, how can a data stream be turned into real-time action, reaching the people who need it, when they need it, and in a form they can easily digest? The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos OverviewThe proliferation of real-time search engines and trend monitors (sometimes referred to as “listening platforms”) has thus far done little to address problems of this scale and importance. This is because they fail to provide context — i.e. show how a new piece of information is relevant to what we’ve seen before and where it fits in the space of possibilities and relationships.For instance, if you are a programming director at CNN trying to discriminate between significant news and Internet memes, simply knowing that #iranelection is a trending topic doesn’t tell you its relation to other topics or which communities are driving it — both critical factors.One promising area is data-oriented user interfaces: data and algorithmic analysis in the back-end and direct visualization and navigation in the front-end. This the next stage of social information, slicing and dicing, mixing and matching, interpreting and analyzing, completely on demand. In this new landscape, the data is the interface.It’s not just about sitting back and looking at pretty pictures. It is about setting aside stale UI metaphors and getting as bare-to-the-bone a human interface as possible for computation. The recently launched Wolfram-Alpha applies this principle to structured data. (Disclosure: I was a member of the core Wolfram-Alpha team and may continue to consult with Wolfram Research.)Real-time data streaming offers similar possibilities and opportunities. In this vein, let’s outline some basic ideas and methods for giving context to the streams.The Computational History of #iranelectionAt the most abstract level, history and computation are the same thing: the evolution of systems over time. Twitter has several remarkable properties that allow us to finally leverage this correspondence in tangible ways. The simplicity of its data, the openness of its system, and its extreme time resolution make it possible for us to detect atoms of history, those moments when something is triggered and society is reconfigured ever so slightly.Look at the bandwidth plots below. They represent the relative volume of different Iran-related phrases on Twitter over time. Their most striking characteristic is how discrete and spikey they are: a tell-tale sign of an organic computational system. Tags:#twitter#web guest author 1 Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The final plot below shows yet another community structure, as well as a new algorithmic technique. This plot does not show the emergence of a new community but rather shows the appropriation of a new topic by mature political factions. This re-tweet network has formed around Iranian tweets that mention Obama. Using graph theory, we can computationally extract the sub-communities and then use that information to color the network. The large blue mass on the right is the conservative Twittersphere, while the other structures are a less-organized collection of mainstream or progressive news outlets.last_img read more

Body of 10-year-old boy found in J-K

first_imgA 10-year-old boy, who had gone missing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, was found dead, police said on Friday. Umar Farooq, a resident of Gulgam area, had gone missing on July 16 and his disappearance triggered protests in the area. The police have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter, an official said. The body of Umar was found last evening, he said.“A SIT, to be headed by the additional superintendent of police (ASP) Kupwara and supervised by the district senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kupwara, has been constituted to investigate the matter, the official said. He said the police have sought cooperation of the residents for completion of the investigation.last_img

Joe Root and Ben Stokes rescue England against improved West Indies

first_imgShare on Facebook England v West Indies: second Test, day one – as it happened The door was ajar but West Indies were unable to barge it wide open. Their bowling was much improved on a deceptively inviting Headingley track but at crucial moments their catching was all too fallible. So some familiar names were able to restore a faltering England innings with considerable gusto.For the 12th Test in succession Joe Root posted a half-century, equalling the record set by AB de Villiers, while Ben Stokes, in barnstorming mode, plundered 100 from 122 balls, a devastating riposte after England’s early troubles. Share via Email Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Ben Stokes Gabriel thundered up the slope – he is one of those fast bowlers who visibly strains every sinew to conjure his pace – and the ball generally landed on target at around 90mph. In his fourth over he found the edge of Cook’s bat and from a sluggish surface there was still sufficient pace for the ball to carry to Kyle Hope at third slip.Now Roach intervened to dismiss Tom Westley in a manner that is already too familiar. The delivery was full in length and Westley sought to flick it through the onside. As at Edgbaston he missed and was lbw.Mark Stoneman had proceeded without many alarms – or many strokes of authority – when he drove at Roach only to be caught behind off the inside edge. Soon after Powell gave that life to Root; meanwhile Dawid Malan was becalmed by four consecutive maidens from Holder as England stuttered to lunch.After the interval Holder tried bowling round the wicket to Malan and was immediately rewarded when an inside edge slid on to the stumps. So the new triumvirate of batsmen had mustered 30 runs between them and the tour party conundrum remained. None of them had convinced on a day when Haseeb Hameed, Gary Ballance and Alex Hales suddenly became better players. There are a lot of names in the hat for Australia and there is no knowing how the selectors are going to pick them out. The selectors, one suspects, do not know either.Soon Stokes had his first reprieve and the tempo of the match changed. Root began to time the ball in his usual manner and it quickly became clear that Stokes was minded to grab the initiative. The cover drives often played with his left knee bent to the ground started to speed to the boundary. So out came the third slip, whereupon he edged through the ensuing gap; Roach even tried bowling to him with an eight-one off-side field but Stokes could not be shackled.Root, minded to dominate against the spinners, also began to accelerate. This determination may have brought his downfall. Sensing a huge gap behind square on the leg side, he tried an improvised sweep against Devendra Bishoo; the ball looped from the toe of Root’s bat to first slip.Jonny Bairstow did not last long, neatly caught at second slip by Holder off Gabriel, and Moeen Ali flickered only briefly after tea until he was caught at cover off Roach. But Stokes ensured a competitive total with a string of breathtaking strokes.There were disdainful flicked drives wide of mid-on from deliveries that would have missed off-stump and flamingo pull shots. In this mood he intimidates bowlers and, it seems, fielders, especially flaky ones like Gabriel. However, the muscular Trinidadian pacer soon atoned for his drop when he induced Stokes to edge a short ball to the keeper. In the same over the keeper, Shane Dowrich, dropped a sitter from Stuart Broad’s bat but Gabriel soon yorked him for a duck anyway and Woakes followed in the next over.So here was graphic confirmation of so many things already known. England still have the shakiest of upper orders, utterly over-dependent on Cook and Root; but they have their feisty combinations down below as demonstrated brilliantly by Stokes.Meanwhile there is potential within this West Indian side. At their best Gabriel and Roach are a handful; the former is the fastest bowler in the match, the latter can send the ball down with the seam ominously proud. But these tourists do not yet know how to seize the moment. Read more Read more Support The Guardian England cricket team Share on Messenger Topics Share on LinkedIn Share on Twittercenter_img Cricket Joe Root Since you’re here… England batting trio of Stoneman, Westley and Malan fail to convince Share on Pinterest Read more West Indies cricket team Yet England’s captain and vice-captain, the two youngest men in the team (find the precedent for that on a rainy day) were dropped before they had reached double figures. When Root was on eight and the score a paltry 44 for three, he edged a delivery from Shannon Gabriel straight to first slip and he had just begun to head back to the pavilion when he saw the ball go in and out of the hands of Kieran Powell.In the afternoon Stokes was on nine when he poked at a wide delivery from Kemar Roach; the edge produced a tougher chance for Kraigg Brathwaite at second slip. The ball raced through his hands to the boundary. Stokes would make them pay more severely.To increase the agony later in the day Stokes, on 98, was badly dropped by Gabriel at mid-on off Roach. From the next delivery he completed his sixth Test century. Extreme exhilaration for the fans was matched by almighty exasperation among the tourists.So England, with their batting bolstered by the presence of Chris Woakes at No9 yet still hampered by the three unconvincing newcomers at the top, finished with 258, which may yet be a working total. In reply West Indies are 19 for one after 12 tense overs, during which Powell presented Alastair Cook with his 150th catch in Test cricket from another superb Jimmy Anderson delivery.Batting was trickier than anticipated throughout most of the day; the straw-coloured surface was not so benign after all and a revamped West Indian attack displayed much more discipline and hostility than at Edgbaston. This was partly because of the presence of Gabriel. His day did not begin perfectly since he was mysteriously late on parade – a disgruntled 12th man had to be bundled out just before Gabriel trotted on to the pitch. Yet he soon dispensed any thoughts of a lack of commitment, rather than dodgy timekeeping. Share on WhatsApp match reports Reuse this content … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. England v West Indies 2017last_img read more